"In a session at the LinuxWorld show here, a panel of hardware
vendors shed some light [on why open source device drivers are
scarce]. ...information on how a hardware device works may not
be free, since it can incorporate a vendor's most precious trade
"One solution is to release specifications for older
technologies no longer valuable as intellectual properties. For
instance, Matrox released specifications for its 2D cards. The
result: Thousands of Linux boxes are now running Matrox chips, 'and
the company didn't have to write one line of code'..."
"Another option is for manufacturers to build more closed-source
drivers for Linux (ones the community cannot tweak), as multimedia
products and peripherals manufacturer Creative Labs is writing for
its 3D sound cards."